Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Belba's School of Cooking

An employee of mine is an excellent cook and when you ask her, "How did you do it?"  Her reply is, "Oh, you know, whatever I have in my kitchen."  Hear this with a thick Hispanic accent.

And, no, I don't know.  So one day I figured I'd just do it.  I got an onion, 1 lb of hamburger, 1 lb of pasta and 45 oz of pasta sauce and I just, oh you know, did it, with what I had in my kitchen.  The result was a delicious pasta dish.  I re-did it today.  Now, its not the same as I don't know what I did the first time.  But I can tell you how to cook like Belba.

What I learned is this: use your senses.  Use your nose and your eyes.

Cut 1/2 the onion, a dash of olive oil in a frying pan and fry it up.

Add the hamburger and cook til brown.  Drain the grease.

Now start the water boiling for the pasta.

Add the sauce to the hamburger and onion.

Now go in your spice cabinet and pick a primary spice.  Since I am cooking pasta I choose oregano.  Dump some in (no I can't tell you how much).  Now pick other spices, and since oregano is green, use your eyes and choose green ones (yes I know most spices are green - its not rocket science, its cooking).

Now use your nose and smell your next spice ... does it work?  If yes, dump some in, if no, put it back and try again.  Choose 3 spices.  The fourth will be garlic, powder or salt, whatever you've got.  If you had garlic cloves then begin with it and saute with the onions.

Now turn down the heat and simmer this while you cook the pasta.  Don't forget to take a whiff.  Is it good? If its missing something (usually more garlic in my case, add some more).

Cook your pasta as directed.  Once the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pan.  Stop simmering the sauce and add it to the pasta.  Mix it up.  Voila (yeah that's French, I don't know the Spanish alternative)!

A delicious, wonderful dish you cooked up all on your own.  I'm pretty sure this is how recipes start in the first place.  You can't go wrong with this one.  Belba doesn't do pasta, this is my version of her method of cooking, but its enormously freeing and fun and no recipe is required.  I also did this with fish one day, when I do it again I'll post my unrecipe.


Anonymous said...

Free-style cooking! That's the kind we do most around here.

The pasta looks pretty tasty.

Sue said...

*Holds up a plate* May I please have some? ;) It's fun cooking like that. I like cooking curries the same way.

Alyssa said...

That looks so tasty! Like a more delicious hamburger helper :P I try and use up the stuff in my kitchen all the time, and your way is the best way to do it. Though, I don't mind eating my own mistakes, as long as it has enough garlic!

WildflowerWool said...

Sounds and looks yummy!!